NIYAMAVEDI Vs. UNION OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
UNION OF INDIA
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(1.) The apex court in S.P.Chengalvaraya Naidu v. Jaganath ( 1994 (1) SCC 1 ) held that the principle of "finality of litigation "cannot be pressed to the extent of such an absurdity that it becomes an engine of fraud between in the hands of dishonest litigants. The courts of law are meant for Imparting justice the parties. One who comes to the court, must come with clean hands. The apex court held that more often than not, process of the court is being abused. Property - grabbers, tax evaders, bank loan dodgers and other unscrupulous persons from all walks of life find the court process a convenient lever to retain the illegal gains indefinitely. The court reminded that a person, who's case is based on falsehood, has no right to approach the court and can be summarily thrown out at any stage of the litigation. We are constrained to apply he above mentioned principle to the instant case since we are convinced that the attempt of the applicant was to grab forest land by abusing the process of the Forest Tribunal and this court. Before we examine the question as to how the order passed by the Forest Tribunal in O.A.No.247 of 1979, confirmed by this court in M.F.A. No. 328 of 1981, was vitiated by fraud and misrepresentation, we may indicate that on the guise of implementing the judgment in M.F.A.No.328 of 1981, 20 acres of evergreen forest with thick forest trees like rosewood, chadachi, maruthu, irul, venga, venteak etc. of more than 300 years old was symbolically delivered to the applicant by the State to wriggle out of the contempt of court proceedings initiated by the applicant. Facts would reveal that what was handed over to the applicant through contempt of court proceedings was not the property which was claimed in O. A.No.247 of 1979 but evergreen forest. The order passed by the Division Bench of this court in C.C.C.No.274 of 1997 is now sought to be reviewed by the State by filing R.P.No.496 of 2000.
(2.) We will first deal with the question as to whether the property assigned to the applicant through contempt of court proceedings was the property which was claimed in O.A.No.247 of 1979. Applicant claimed himself to be the owner of 22.25 hectares of land, said to have been purchased by him by document No. 2685 of 1966 of the Sub Registry, Mannarkkad which falls in survey number 2157 Part of Palakkayam village. Applicant sought exemption of 20 acres of land for which he claimed title as per document No.2685 of 1968 which was registered with a survey sketch. Property claimed by the applicant therefore should fall within the survey sketch. O.A. No.247 of 1979 was however allowed by the Tribunal on 17.12.1980 holding that the application schedule property was not vested in the State which was confirmed by this court in M.F.A.No. 328 of 1981. The question as to whether those orders have been vitiated by fraud or misrepresentation would be examined by us later. Suffice it to say, what the applicant claimed in the application is the property covered by the registered document. 2685 of 1968 along with the sketch attached to it. This is an admitted fact. Let us now examine whether the land which the applicant had obtained.through contempt of court proceedings is the same land which is covered by the above mentioned document and as to whether State was forced to hand over the evergreen forest to the applicant so as to wriggle out of the contempt of court proceedings.
(3.) Applicant in order to get the judgment in M.F.A.No.328 of 1981 implemented, had filed O.P.No.2926 of 1989 seeking writ of mandamus to restore 20 acres of land which was subject matter of O.A.No.247 of 1979. Writ petition was disposed of by the learned single judge on 28.8.1990 directing the Forest Department to restore the property covered by O.A.No.247 of 1979. An affidavit was filed by the Divisional Forest Officer in the contempt case stating as follows:
"I submit that after the confirmation of the order of the Forest Tribunal by the Honourable Supreme Court of India, when steps were being taken to restore the property involved in the original application No.247 of 1979 filed by the petitioner, it was discovered that the property claimed in the O. A.as per the title deed produced by the petitioner therein and the property now claimed by the petitioner are distinct and different..................................... it is submitted that the difficulty for restoration of the property to the petitioner arose because the schedule of property described in the Original Application before the Forest Tribunal did not tally with the property claimed by the petitioner on the field. It is submitted that the title deed produced; before the Forest Tribunal claiming an area of 20 acres in survey No. 2157 / P in Palakkayam village is document No. 2685 of 1968 of the Sub Registry Office, Mannarghat. The total area to which the petitioner had title under the aforesaid document is 22.25 hectares (55 acres). The said title deed was registered along with a surveyed sketch of the land.. Thus the property claimed by the petitioner is part of the property to which the petitioner obtained title under the aforesaid document namely, document No. 2685/68 S.R.O. Mannarghat. The petitioner, it is submitted with respect is entitled as per the judgment in the O.A. to get 20 acres of land within the surveyed sketch of 22.25 hectares (55 acres) for which he had title as per document No. 2685/68 of the S.R.O. Mannarghat. It is humbly submitted that the petitioner is now pointing out a different area and claiming restoration of the same. The area presently claimed by the petitioner does not lie within the surveyed sketch which forms part of the title deed of the petitioner.
It is submitted that as directed by the Conservator of Forests (Vigilance), Kozhikode, the Assistant Director, Forest Mini Survey, Trivandrum surveyed the property and has reported that the property of the petitioner as per the title deed produced by him in the Original Application before the Forest Tribunal does not fall within the boundaries shown in the schedule to the O.A. A true copy of the English translation of the report of the Assistant Director, Forest Mini Survey, Thiruvananthapuram. bearing No. B2-1035/92 dated 6.9.1997 is produced herewith and marked as Ext.R1(f).
It is humbly submitted that the petitioner alienated the entire property covered by the title deed produced by him before the Forest Tribunal in O.A.247 of 1979 even before he filed the original application before the Tribunal. However he filed the original application on the basis of the very same document, namely document No 2685/68 of the S.R.O. Mannarghat. The said document has been registered in 1968 along with a sketch and the extent of the land is 55 acres (22.25 hectares). However when the petitioner was asked to identify the O.A. schedule property the petitioner now points out 20 acres of virgin forest about 650 metres away from the property covered by his original title deed."
Reply affidavit has been filed by the applicant stating as follows:
"The title claimed as per deed No.2685 of 1968 was found to be true and the title of petitioner over the 20 acres was upheld by the Manjeri Forest Tribunal and by the Honourable supreme Court of India. It is absolutely untrue that the petitioner is pointing out a different area and claiming restoration of the same. The contention that the area claimed does not lie within the surveyed sketch forming part of the title deed is incorrect."
Therefore, the area claimed in the O.A. should admittedly fall within the surveyed sketch forming part of title deed No 2685 of 1968.;
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